Eating Pasta With Gennaro Contaldo

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Unfortunately, a saying such as 'No Carbs Before Marbs' or 'No Pizza Before Ibiza' is an impossible task for a girl who loves food this much.  So when I got asked if I wanted to eat pasta with the worlds best Italian chef, you can imagine my response.

Jamie's Italian in St Davids had invited a few of us down for a masterclass with Gennaro Contaldo. I usually avoid making pasta dishes because I think it will be a lengthy process, with millions of ingredients. This is where Gennaro proved me wrong. 

After a quick chat over coffee, it was time to get stuck in. On the table in front of us layed 4 very simple ingredients. Fresh eggs, durum wheat, flour and pasteurized eggs. 



Within seconds Gennaro had mixed these all up and we were making neat little handfuls of pasta.



With this, we moved to the kitchen where the magic really happened. The freshest, brightest ingredients were along the worktop and Gennaro started chopping and ripping into them as if it were an art. We were all watching in awe as he was throwing things into the pan, that was filling the kitchen with the most delicious aroma.


The dishes he prepared literally took minutes and used only a handful of ingredients. After they were all cooked up it was time to try them, I was clutching at my fork like my life depended on it. 

The first one was tomato based and made up of lots of cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, chilli's and pancetta, it was AMAZING!! Of course with a generous helping of Parmesan too.


Then we had a mushroom one, which was made up of different types of mushroom, stock, tomatoes and herbs. This was really earthy and seriously good.


We also had a cod dish. Now I am not big on fish but this one was enough to convert me to the seafood life for good. It was cooked with white wine, chillis, capers, anchovies, olives, tomatos and garlic. We soaked up the juice with bread and all sat in silence with a muffled "OMG" every now and then.


Over food we were chatting and I asked Gennaro what his favourite dish was, to which he leapt up and ran to the kitchen, returning minutes later with a creamy, truffle pasta dish. It was to die for.


So that was my lunch time yesterday. It was so refreshing to see someone so passionate about food and serving up a dish that was made with such love and goodness. 


If there is anything I can teach you from my day, it is to invest in some good extra virgin olive oil and to keep your cherry tomatoes out of the fridge. My whole life I have been living a lie by keeping these little blighters all chilly in the fridge.

Thank you Jamies Italian, St Davids and Gennaro for a fabulous day!


xxx


Falafel Friday

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You will find me banging on about falafels at least once a week, people always ask me how I make mine, so I thought I'd share this one with you. When I first started making them, I always felt like I was chewing on a spoonful of turmeric, but after lots of trial and error, I feel I have finally figured them out, which means my life is almost complete.

This is what I use:
  • 1 Tin of Chickpeas
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Clove of garlic or however much you fancy
  • 1 Grated Carrot
  • A Handful of chopped up corriander
  • I usually chuck in whatever spices I can find, but my faves are a big heaped teaspoon of turmeric, paprika, cumin and a sprinkle of chill flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Buckwheat Flour 
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Coconut Oil for cooking 

So start by soaking the chickpeas, this will make them easier to mash.

chop the onion and garlic and toss in the pan with coconut oil to soften them up.

Drain the chickpeas and add to a bowl with the carrot, all the herbs and spices, a generous drizzle of oil and the lemon juice, mash it all up then add the onions and mash some more.

Add your salt and pepper and add some flour until the consistency is still a little sticky, but easy to roll into a ball and keep its shape.


Once you've got your perfect little balls on a plate... Add some coconut oil to the pan and pop them in and keep rolling them all around until they are light brown and smelling delicious. Alternatively you can pop them in the oven if you would prefer.


I usually serve mine with a kale salad and some quinoa or sweet potato, they are my absolute faves.


They are so cheap to make and perfect for your lunchbox too. Fridays will never be the same once you've discovered Falafel Friday.


xxx

The Jady Brunch

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As my blog has accidentally turned into a foodie haven, for a while I have been searching for a new name. So after a cocktail or 6 with the clique, the conversation turned to the all important renaming of my blog.

With the sheer devastation that my mum didn't call me Judy (Brunch & Judy would have been fantastic.) I got the girls thinking, and over guac and gin, The Jady Brunch was born.

Its like The Brady Bunch, but it's just me and my brunch. 

Expect all things foodie and fabulous.

Enjoy!

P.s Thank you WGP, Sophie, Nina & the bottle of Gin. who helped me come up with this fabulous name.

xxx



Forest Tea Room

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If you follow me on instagram, you have most likely seen me at a cute little cafe in the woods on a number of occasions.



This place is Forest Tea Room and is quite quickly becoming my favourite place to drink coffee on a Sunday.



You will find it in Tongwynlais, near Castell Coch. It is nestled in the woods, so keep your eyes peeled. It is the perfect stop off after a long walk or ride, they welcome pooches and bicycles and serve the most delicious coffee and cake. (The perks of the long journey there, means there is room made for stocking up..)

In the winter they have a big log fire burning and is an ideal spot for snuggling up before heading back home.

There are a number of ways to get there, last week we walked up Caerphilly mountain and all the way back to Cardiff, stopping midway for treats.


This week we cycled from the city centre up the Taff Trail, stopping off for bacon sandwiches and cake before heading back.


Also don't forget to say hello to the peacock, you may find him admiring himself in the mirror or eyeing up your cake, sounds a bit like my boyfriend actually...


So if you're looking for something fun to do on the weekend, I would highly recommend a trek around this area, its gorgeous and the perfect way to spend a morning.

You can find directions here:


xxx



How Pancakes Can Cause A Breakup

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Firstly you will have to forgive me for the lack of pictures, I was in fact just trying to save my relationship and well, taking pictures must have slipped my mind. 

As me and Ki both had a day off mid-week, I had already planned my breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Course I did) So I woke up thinking of pancakes and fresh coffee.

As you can probably tell, I love anything that is full of goodness, so I decided on trying a healthier version. Half a tin of coconut milk, 100g of buckwheat flour, a teaspoon of bicarbonate and 3 eggs later, it was a decision I deeply regretted. 

A decision that caused a lot of F words and a man violently flipping pancakes, claiming that "WE HAVE TO EAT THEM OR ITS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY." I didn't. I made some oats and watched as he ate the cardboard like circles in a big huge mood.

So as Shrove Tuesday is just around the corner, take my words of advice and stick to the naughty stuff. Lather it in butter, chocolate and syrup and enjoy every fluffy moment. 

I know I will be...

xxx

Two Fingers Drinks

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Any event that involves a bunch of my favourite people, with promises of gin and snacks is my idea of heaven. 

So Saturday, after a brief encounter with the Queen mother and her corgie at the door, I found myself in Nina's flat that had been transformed into a funky little bar.






Now I love a cheeky cocktail, but these usually involve a bodycon dress and eyelashes that touch my forehead, if it's not that, it will be me making a huge, sticky mess in the kitchen. This is where Two Fingers Drinks come in and let you wave goodbye to sticky floors and the washing up.

So here you can swap that bodycon dress for a baggy shirt, those heels for mouse slippers and sit back, Tim will do the rest.

It's a pretty simple process, you pick 3 of your fave cocktails beforehand and Tim will shake them up for you, all from the comfort of your own home. He will even bring them over to you in return for brownies.



We all love gin, so we picked ours within seconds. The first one was La Boheme, this was my favorite and I think I had 5 of these by the end of the night, but it's ok because Tim said they are hangover free. I think I remember elderflower and pomegranate...it was delicioussss!


The next one we had was a Brambellini which was inhaled rather quickly, I then made loud slurping noises with my straw just to remind everyone to drink up.


The last one we had was a tall Peach Melba Collins and yes, it was as fantastic as its name.


We also had scrummy treats, Sophie provided gooey, salted caramel brownies, Nina provided the most delicious plum cake and WGP provided us all with abs of steel from making us laugh so much, I (as always) came with an abundance of animal knowledge. 


Just in case you are ever stuck for a nugget of knowledge, go with these ones: 

Female snakes don't have boobs and there is a mantas shrimp that CAN solve a rubix cube. Honestly, they were all amazed.

I would struggle to find a better way to spend a Saturday and already can't wait until we do it again, it got a little foggy towards the end, but I woke up to an interesting google history and my browser open on 'Sad Monkey In Swimsuit' so it must have been a good one. 




Thank you Two Fingers Drinks for a fabulous evening!

www.twofingersdrinks.com

xxx  


Deliciously Ella's Sweet Potato Brownies

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Sunday is for exploring, today we ventured out to the valleys. I think it was about -100 degrees, and the only other people outside in the whole of Abergavenny managed to photobomb my selfie.




Then when I returned home, half frozen, something wonderful happened. You know that vegetable that usually has hair growing out of it somewhere and is partial to a bit of mud? LOOK WHAT I DID WITH IT?



Say hello to my sweet potato brownies. 

This page in my Deliciously Ella cookbook has had a bookmark in it since the day I bought it, I'd heard very good things about them, but was struggling to think of what a roast dinner item would be like in a brownie, so I just HAD to try. 




I used:
4 smallish sweet potatoes
Medjool Dates
Ground Almonds
Buckwheat Flour
Raw Cacao Powder
Rice Malt Syrup (I think next time I will use maple syrup)
Coconut oil for greasing the tin.

They are easy to make and surprisingly disaster-proof, a huge plus is being able to lick the spoon without fearing that you are going to get salmonella. YESSS!!!



One thing I would suggest is having a good food mixer for this, my blender was being stubborn, so I had to do most of the mixing by hand (I swear it's harder than a kettle bell class) I would also suggest cleaning up as you go along..




So if you've got a bag of sweet potatoes lying around, I highly suggest you get your chef hat on and try these gooey delights. Even my chocoholic boyfriend approved and hoovered his share up pretty quickly.




The Recipe is in Ella's book and also here: 





You can sooo pass these as one of your 5 a day too..

xxx
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